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The Foggy Rheuma
Rheumatoid Arthritis affects more than just your joints and of course there is also RA and fatigue. But one of the other wonderful things that those with Rheumatoid Arthritis face is brain fog. Brain fog is not just exclusive to Rheumatoid Arthritis. There is also psoriatic arthritis brain fog, ankylosing spondylitis brain fog, methotrexate brain fog, chemo brain and also osteoarthritis and brain fog. If you have a chronic illness, you will at some stage experience brain fog.
Insane in the brain
I was making a complaint on Facebook a while ago (what better place to complain) about some brain fog that I was experiencing and one of my friends made the comment that she experiences this all the time being a mother. Well!! I am a mother and I know exactly what she is referring to. BUT, that’s not what I was referring to when I was whining about my RA brain fog.
What she was referring to was what I call mummy brain. You know when you’re so flustered by the surmounting amount of crap you have to do as a mother, that you just forget things? That’s what my friend was referring to but that’s not what I was referring to. Brain fog is not like rheumatoid arthritis dementia. It’s not just about forgetting stuff. It’s that on steroids plus a whole lot more. We don’t know the exact relationship between Rheumatoid Arthritis and cognitive impairment but that’s what RA brain fog is. Brain fog is like having arthritis in your head!
In case you were wondering, I started to define RA brain fog to my friend. I don’t think she fully understood my arthritis of the head explanation but it made her laugh. If you’re having trouble explaining RA to your family and friends, I have tips for you here.
What are the symptoms of arthritis in the head?
When you are experiencing arthritis in the head symptoms, here are a list of things you might experience:
- Memory loss
This is more than your typical ‘why did I walk into this room again’ kind of memory loss. During brain fog, my whole day will just be a blur and I won’t be able to recall much of what I did that day.
- Lack of clarity in your thinking
This is where you define foggy. You’re just not the sharpest tool in the shed anymore. Even speaking intelligently is something that I struggle with now. I find during brain fog, I have to really think about my sentences when I speak because I just can’t find the words I want to use to communicate. Anything with more than 5 letters, forget about it.
- Crappy concentration
Houston we have a problem! Concentration is extremely difficult when you are experiencing cognitive dysfunction. It’s like your mind is floating on air and you just can’t do any mind linking. You can’t string two thoughts or two actions together. There is no rhythm in your thoughts. It’s stop, start, turn, where was I? Start, stop, eeerrrrrr….. hhhmmmm?
- Can’t focus
Focusing is just impossible during brain fog. To focus during brain fog is like playing with bubbles. It feels like all my thoughts are floating in the air but by the time I get to it, it pops. I spend my day chasing thoughts. It’s a very ‘so close yet so far’ kind of sensation
It’s not a Toomah!
Can Rheumatoid Arthritis cause headaches? What about migraines and Rheumatoid Arthritis? Is arthritis of the skull symptoms related to brain fog?
RA can cause inflammation and pain not only in your joints but also your vertebrae as well as your skull which results in rheumatoid arthritis headache and migraines. Recent studies conducted has suggested a link with Rheumatoid Arthritis and the parietal lobe in the brain resulting in brain fog. The parietal lobe of the brain controls our sensory input as well as our perception. If you are experiencing pain in parietal lobe of brain then this could be linked to cognitive problems according to the research in this study.
To brain fog or not to brain fog
Brain fog can also be a direct cause of the following factors related to Rheumatoid Arthritis:
Stress can cause a myriad of issues including further exasperation of inflammation in the body, depression and fatigue which results in difficulty to think, focus and concentrate.
Sleep is a major issue with RA patients. You can either be getting too much or not enough. Poor sleep quality can impede our brain’s ability to function.
Diet not only affects our chronic inflammation but also the way our immune system responds. People with any form of inflammatory arthritis should be conscious of their diet. You can read more about nutrition and Rheumatoid Arthritis here.
- Physical Activity
A sedentary lifestyle can contribute to brain fog along with a host of other ailments.
Rheumatoid Arthritis care and treatment is complex so if you feel that brain fog is attributed to your medication, seek medical advice. Discuss with your doctor about these symptoms as you may need to change to a different medication.
There could be other health risk factors associated with brain fog such as liver function and infections. If you feel that these apply to you, speak to a medical professional.
What to do with your arthritis of the brain symptoms?
There are many brain fog natural remedies available. In fact, treating Rheumatoid Arthritis brain fog does not require any form of medication. YAY!! Here are top tips for not only treating but also preventing brain fog:
- Lower stress levels
This is easier said than done, I get that. You can read more about the effects of chronic pain on mental health and advice on how to deal with it here.
- Essential oils
Essential oil is very effective for physical and mental health. Aromatherapy is widely used to improve and alter our moods naturally. Lemon, peppermint, lavender are really good oils for brain fog. You can learn more about natural remedies for rheumatoid arthritis here.
Herbs are another great way to naturally enhance our physical and mental well-being. Lion’s mane and Gotu Kola are all fantastic for fatigue. You can find out more about the benefits of herbs from The Herbal Academy . Also check out their outstanding herbarium. I purchase my herbs from Star West Botanicals. You can read more about herbs for rheumatoid arthritis here.
- Improve sleep
- CBD Oil
CBD oil is scientifically proven to lower anxiety and stress. Many sufferers of RA have reported that it also helps them to sleep.
Curious about CBD? Try Joy Organic Premium CBD for only $5. Get yours now!
Not only will a diet low in inflammatory foods and high in anti-inflammatory foods help slow our disease but also improves our blood pressure as well as improving the health of our brain.
Exercise has been proven to improve our brain function by increasing the blood flow to our brains. The Rheuma Mill has just launched a new stretch and exercise program that you can check out here.
Find daily activities that you enjoy that will help keep your brain sharp and active. I personally enjoy playing games of scrabble on my phone and I use daily brain game apps. I also love to do word puzzles and I am a voracious reader. What are some of your favourite activities?? Share these in the comments below!
Cloudy with a chance of brain fog
It’s extremely frustrating when our bodies don’t function the way we want it to and when our brains refuse to co-operate with us, this can double our frustration. But by applying these daily strategies not only do we help to improve our overall health but we are ensuring that we are doing all we can to avoid the dreaded brain fog.
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